Since I started this blog a couple of years ago, I’ve been really fortunate to work with a whole host of lovely brands and this year really is no exception. At the beginning of the year I received a very exciting email from Leapfrog asking me to be one of their ambassadors for 2016 and I am over the moon.
For those of you not familiar with Leapfrog, they are a brand that are renowned for their award-winning educational toys and games and are right up my street. I’m a huge fan of toys that are not only fun but those, that through the power of play, will also educate our little ones.
As part of our Leapfrog ambassadorship this year, we’ll be bringing you news of Leapfrog’s brilliant products and we are very excited that we get the opportunity to put a number of Leapfrog’s educational toys and games to the test and share our reviews with you.
Jack was recently send the LeapPad Platinum to put through its paces and after reading rave reviews about it from fellow bloggers, I was very intrigued to see the Platinum in action first-hand.
Children’s tablets have evolved enormously in the past few years and although the LeapPad Platinum is no competition to the likes of the iPad Mini in the style stakes, it offers a robust design with a shatter-safe screen and wraparound rubber bumper, which is invaluable when in the hands of a heavy-handed little person!
Available in green or purple, the LeapPad Platinum is aimed at children aged between 3 and 9. It’s the first children’s tablet that Jack has played with and he loves it, as do I! I could waffle on and on about how brilliant I think the LeapPad Platinum is, but to keep it more concise I have highlighted the main features below:
In terms of specifications, the LeapPad Platinum boasts a powerful punch. It has a respectable 1 GHz processor and a 7-inch capacitive screen with the best resolution to date (1024 x 600) on a LeapPad tablet that delivers big, crisp, sharp graphics. The screen is a touch screen so can be controlled with a finger or the nifty soft-ended stylus and there is a directional pad and home button on the front which makes it super easy for little ones to navigate.
The built-in rechargeable battery last around five hours. This is slightly less than its predecessor, the LeapPad 3, but is long enough to get you through most car journeys and short haul flights.
Robust Parent Controls
The LeapPad Platinum allows parents to create user profiles for their children enabling parents to take control over how your little one utilises the LeapPad.
You can limit access to certain apps, disable the wi-fi and even set time restrictions. Ingeniously time limits can also be set each time the tablet is turned on if you only want your little one to play with it for an hour, for example. A countdown timer lets them know how much longer they have left.
These robust parental controls offer peace of mind that your little ones can play safely and only access what you want them to access.
Apps and Games
The LeapPad Platinum comes pre-loaded with a plethora of apps and games to entertain your children including a PhotoFun app that lets them add funny filters to the photos they have taken themselves on the LeapPad’s 2-megapixel camera, a music app where they can listen to pre-loaded songs and a pet chat app that lets your child send pre-approved messages to their friends who also own a LeapPad.
In addition to the pre-loaded apps and games, there are over 800 available as paid downloads in the LeapFrog App Centre. You can also go ‘old-school’ and purchase cartridge games for your LeapPad Platinum, and these have been a huge hit with Jack.
Jack’s firm favourite cartridge at the moment is Disney-Pixars Monsters University (problem solving based), but he also really loves his Jake and the Never Land Pirates game (mathematics based) and his Octonauts game (Science based).
Children can also browse the App Centre and add apps and games to a ‘wishlist’ for their parent’s to (hopefully!) buy them. This feature isn’t much use to Jack, as at 4 years old he likes the look of everything, but is a handy feature for older children who understand exactly what they are adding to the list.
The LeapPad Platinum has a safe, protected web browser that gives children access to pre-approved content that has been curated just for kids, such as child-appropriate viral videos and information about dinosaurs for example. It’s no google, but it’s great for your children to have a delve around the internet without worrying about what they might come across.
Each LeapPad Platinum comes with 6 bonus LeapFrog Imagicards that are ultimately used to interact with games on the screen. This augmented reality feature is great fun, especially for younger children, and really does enhance the learning experience through spelling, puzzles and problem solving.
Using the LeapPad’s camera to simply take a photo of the card, it suddenly (and magically in children’s eyes) brings the card to life. Jack loves playing with the Paw Patrol Imagicards, as not only do the characters pop up on the screen when he photographs them, he also has to find the right card to be scanned into the game, as the cards are used to unlock the gameplay. Your little one can even take ‘selfies’ with their favourite characters!
As a parent, I’m always trying to discourage my two from too much ‘screen time’, as I’d rather they play outside / be active / get crafty etc. However there are (many) times when Andy and I rely on electronic devices to entertain Jack and Phoebs and much to my delight, the LeapPad Platinum is always Jack’s first request.
At £79.99 (you can buy it on Amazon here), I think the LeapPad Platinum is excellent value for money and the ‘free’ apps and games pre-loaded will entertain your little ones for a good while. However, if you would like to buy additional apps and games, they can feel quite pricey compared to iOS offerings for example, but knowing that they are educational, quality and advert free most definitely makes up for it.
The LeapPad Platinum is educational, safe, secure, robust and most importantly fun, and in my opinion, you can’t ask for anything more in your child’s first tablet.
Disclosure: We were very kindly sent the LeapPad Platinum free of charge for the purpose of this review, however all opinions are my own and I’d still rave about it even if i’d paid for it!